Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Knowing your worth

Champions are born; not made.

One of the truest phrases ever uttered in the history of dick swinging.

The other day a friend of mine talked about his short comings as a lifter and his value, or lack of, to some of the people sponsoring him.

My response to that was that his attitude was bullshit.

I'm probably never going to break any world records or put up astronomical totals.  This doesn't mean that my coaching, knowledge, and ability to teach others is somehow diminished or less valuable.  How many great football players make great coaches?  And how many great coaches were even decent football players?  What if coaches thought "well I was never a record setting running back, so there's no way I can coach."

Does that make any sense at all?  

I don't put my worth as a lifter, man, or coach in numbers alone, because I can work as hard as I can, and still fall short of where others have gone before.  This is the harsh reality of life sometimes.  If your basis of self worth is derived ONLY from beating others you could very well fall short, and then what are you left with?  Emptiness, disappointment, and a feeling as though your accomplishments are worthless because they fell short of what someone else accomplished.  On the flip side, what if you do set records, and later your records are (and most likely will be) broken?  Are your accomplishments now worthless?

This is anti-lifer thinking.

I'm not saying not to be competitive.  Far from it.  Be a pitbull about your goals, and go after them with every ounce of piss and enraged madness that you can muster up.

What I'm saying is there may be factors that arise that you have no control over.  And if your entire mindset has been on reaching a singular goal, you may have missed all of the other blessings and achievements that came along with trying to reach that goal.  You have to learn how to be multidimensional in your thinking throughout the journey.

I told my friend that he was selling himself short because he is a wealth of knowledge, worth every bit of what his sponsors are doing for him.  Period.

What if his help, coaching, teaching, etc helped someone else to go on to set world records?  What if he helped someone get into lifting, like my coach/instructor did, and it saved them from a life of addiction, depression, or worse?  

If you have something to offer, then offer it up and don't sell yourself short on your ability to give back to others.  Don't be so short sighted that you only see value in the things you accomplish solely related to you.

Champions are born not made, true......but most champions also had a championship caliber supporter to help them achieve that greatness.  

Keep your mind open and vision wide.


  1. Paul,

    I have been following your blog for a while, and I just wanted to say that all the principles you lay out have helped me a great deal. I am that guy. The one who was never happy with anything I have done, and never thought anything I could do would impress anybody.

    Lifting has been my release, and your words have given me a great deal of solace. I try to carry over the lessons of the weight room to life. I am preparing for med school. Which is a really egocentric world, but I think if I abide by my code, something you and jim preach, I'll be alright.

    Thanks for putting out the knowledge brother.

    1. My pleasure. and kick ass at med school. we always need more good doctors and people who really give back.

  2. All I could think of was Cus D'Amato. Good read.

  3. Haha I thought it was "champions are made, not born"...I've heard it both ways now.

    1. If that were the case, anyone could be a champion. Fact is, it really boils down to what mom and pop gave you.

    2. Heh. That's a punch straight to the heart. Earlier this year I passed up on a job opportunity since I felt I wouldn't be able to provide enough value for the work they were offering.

      Fucking weakness of heart and mind.

  4. I know you're right, but damn that's a hard pill to swallow. On the subject of people who were born to be champions, you've mentioned talking to Dan Green in the last podcast. I thought I'd express interest in an interview with him in case you were considering it.

  5. There's a great deal of research that says the most successful people in business are the self-promoters, not necessarily the most talented or well-suited. A lot of people critical of themselves and their value have the most to offer. They know what their weaknesses are; they know what injuries and failure feels like. If you're overly critical of yourself and your value you probably have more to offer people coming up then someone who's never reflected on their situation. Be aware of your short comings, accept them, work hard to improve them and be proud of your progress.

    There's a line from the Tao de Ching that makes more sense to me with each passing year: "When you are content to be yourself and do not compare and compete, everyone will respect you."

  6. Absolutely. Like you said, champions are born. I can train my ass off and let my hair grow for years but I'll never contend with Clay Matthews. To put my point another way, the man whose self worth isn't contingent on other people's opinions or achievements will pull way more ass than his bigger, faster, stronger, less secure counterpart.

  7. Paul,

    I do not wholly agree with that sentiment. Despite what you believe, there are a lot of self-made champions out there. I do NOT disgaree with the fact that there are a lot of champions born. Physically, there are a folks out there who are born with awesome genetics. However, if they do not have a champion mind-set, they will always be chumps. A person can be blessed with awesome genetics--have the capability of becoming a brick shithouse, but if their mind is weak---they are chumps, period.

    I am no Derek Poundstone---the man is THE man. He's one of the World's strongest Men and I admire that sport like no other. Do I have the genetic ability/the frame/ or the size like him? No. That's a given. However, self-made champions are out there man. I busted my ass off over the years and made personal acheivements that that turned me into a champion because of my passion. Sure, I am going to have to fight harder---diet harder--push n pull harder-- but I'll get there. Never doubt the power of the mind, brutha. Like you said, be a pitbull about your goals. Just because a person wasn't born with the same genetics as Poundstone doesn't mean they do not have the capability of obtaining elite level of strength.

    And do not think I do not doubt the fact that champions are born, my own soon to be brother in law is a freak like no other. Sure, its bullshit sometimes, but he was blessed. That doesn't mean WE cannot become champions. It's the mental game that separates the champions from the chumps.

    1. Not really. You can't turn yourself into Randy Moss through training.

      Jerry Rice had that unreal work ethic, but make no mistake, he already had all of the tools in place.

      Poundstone is a great example. There are plenty of guys that can take all of the drugs in the world, train their nuts off, and still never achieve that level of strength and development. It doesn't mean they are losers....but at the end of the day if you aren't blessed with the ability to be the best at something then no amount of work is going to overcome that genetic short coming.

      I never said champions aren't hard workers. Most of the guys that are at the very elite level of anything physically, are incredibly hard workers. What separates them from the other guys is he was born with. This is not really even debatable.

    2. Paul,

      And you're exactly right. There are a shitload of people who will TAKE anything and DO anything, but they will never be Derek Poundstone. There will never be another Randy Moss, a Jerry Rice, The Olympic sprinter--Bolt,the Olympic badass Paul Anderson, the powerlifting legend Ed Coan. But that's my point---they can't. Each person is only born to achieve their own greatness.

      Everybody was born with specific "tools", but those who are smart enough will take advantage of their tools. No two people are the same, correct? You're not going to find another Paul Carter out there are ya? Sure, you may find someone who has a similar build, strength level, but suppose that dude cannot pull off 200 Carter Curls, are you going to say that you were born with that ability? fuck no, you worked for it. I was definitely not born with the same genetics as you or Poundstone, but that doesn't mean I couldn't pull off 200 Carter Curls or deadlift as much as Poundstone even though our genetic make-up is completely different.

      If we compared just the two of us---you and me. People will clearly see you have the genetic advantage. Yet if we both pull off 200 Carter curls, what does that say? I was also born a champion? I will say no. I will say, I worked hard to get those 200 reps. I'm a self-made champ, man. If you want to say you were born a champ, that's a great mindset. I highly believe I was born with a champion mindset and that is what allowed me transform myself physically. It sure wasnt because of my genetics.

      Then again----I will ALSO agree with you on some of this stuff. For instance, I am not a squatter. I've never squatted more than 300lbs, which is considered pathetically weak. Yet i pulled off other awesome feats. I was able to deadlift 640, I was able to flip a 300lb tractor tire for 50 reps in less than 10 mins, I was able to carry a 100lb log for 3 miles without setting it down. I can bend steel bars at will when 250-300lb football monsters couldnt even bend the same bar. If you want to say I was born with THAT ability, fine. If your whole point of this blog is to emphasize that "I was born to squat and you were born to Deadlift, because its based on our genetic make-up" fine. I do agree with concept somewhat. But I believe you have to be a self-made champ to be even considered a champ. If you're born with more tools in your belt than others, yeah---you're gonna be ahead in the game--sure.

      That's why I say there are a lot of self-made champions out there too. Not just the ones who are born with awesome genetics. A person with average genetics could pull off the same feat as someone with superior genetics. Sure, the natural born genetic badass is going to achieve it probably faster, but that doesn't mean the others with less blessed genetics can't. Its debatable, Mr. Carter.

    3. Again, not really. You can train your ass off like no other but if you don't have the genetics to run a sub 10 second 100 meter dash, it's never going to happen. there is a reason only 1 white guy EVER has done that. Genetics are the single biggest aspect in determining who will be a champion.

      And not to belittle your accomplishments, but they are not champion level achievements. Neither are mine. And that's the point. I can work as hard as I can work, and do all the things I could ever do, hit my genetic ceiling, and still never be the very elite of the elite. That's what a champion is, and those guys have the genetics to be there, first and foremost. All of the hard work in the world won't overcome dog shit genes. You can always get better yes, but if your mom and dad didn't give you what you need to be the very best at something (which is what a champion is) then you can't overcome that.

    4. You're stubborn Mr. Carter. :-)

      Bolt did not know he was going to be the fastest sprinter on the planet until he busted his off at it, trained like a madman.

      Paul Anderson did not know he was going to be the greatest Olympic heavyweight lifter ever. He trained his ass off to become the best.

      Poundstone has been training for years to get to this elite level of strength. It wasn't obtained in 6 years of lifting or something like that. He must've been training for 20+ years.

      Even you Mr. Carter, when you were in your teens to early 20's, your strength was skyrocketing. Then you had like a 10 year "off n on" thing, then you finally settled into your methodology several years back and been making considerable gains every since. You still have many years to go under your belt.

      You're right, my accomplishments are still Meh at best. None of those accomplishments will put my name on the board. Then again, I am not worried. I am only 24. I bet in 10 more years---my accomplishments will be on the board, but only because of the hardwork and the effort i put into it.

      Everyone of the greatest---I can almost guarantee you, that someone did not walk up to them and say "Hey Anderson, it's in your genetics to become the strongest man ever" "Hey Bolt, you're black---you know you're faster than whites, it's in your dna. Did you also know your dna says you're going to be the fastest man alive?" That one white guy clearly had to work much harder didn't he, since he had to overcome a genetic disadvantage.

      All the greats HAD to bust their ass off via progression. Some of them took yearrrrsss to get to that level of elite strength, but they got there by sticking with it. Hardwork overcomes quite a bit. There are champions born....but they are champions self-made too.

      If you still disagree with my sentiment, then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Have Faith in yourself, Mr. Carter. Don't limit yourself to your genetic ceiling. You too, have the chance to become the best as well. Good luck n God bless.

    5. We'll have to agree to disagree. Nothing you wrote there disproves what I said. Champions are born. They have genetics to become champions. Whether or not they realize their ability is a different story. But people climb to the top of the heap because they have the raw materials to be able to do so.

      You keep confusing "getting better" or "becoming your best" with being a champion. Nothing you can do will make you Ed Coan. Nothing I can do can make me Ed Coan. Ed Coan is the greatest of all time because he was born with the ability to be the greatest of all time, and found that niche. Lots of guys find powerlifitng and never set a world record.

      Lots of guys are in MMA but will never even fight in the UFC. We're talking about CHAMPIONS. Not some "be the best you can be" bullshit. Ok? CHAMPIONS!!!!

      The 1% of the 1% are born with things that separate them from everyone else. You can't train for that or plan for it.